93: “Now That’s What I Call A Close Encounter” – Independence Day & Mars Attacks!
In the mid-90s, multiplexes were invaded by an influx of movies centered on mankind’s first contact with extraterrestrials. And unlike the cute and friendly aliens we got to know in the 80s, like E.T. and ALF, the space invaders of the 90s mostly just wanted to annihilate us, starting with our favorite tourist destinations.
Part One of the When We Were Young Early Late Mid-To-Late 90s Summer Alien Invasion Spectacular looks at two of the deadliest interstellar assaults to ever breach the silver screen, both celebrating their 25th anniversaries this year.
First up, we celebrate the 4th of July in the most American way possible — with mass casualties, tons of military hardware, a bombastic presidential speech, and a stripper! Roland Emmerich’s record-smashing INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996) raised the bar for special effects-loaded summer entertainment, redefining the blockbuster with its cataclysmic destruction of U.S. landmarks (a popcorn movie hallmark ever since).
Next, we attempt to shield ourselves from Tim Burton’s outrageous sci-fi send-up MARS ATTACKS! (1996), with a cast so star-studded that it stars Jack Nicholson twice! The wacky comedy had just as much death and destruction as Independence Day, but came in for a crash landing when it opened in theaters, and has been largely forgotten since.
Which of these uncomfortably close encounters holds up better now that we’re viewing them from a distance? Do we prefer President Pullman to President Nicholson? A dog that outruns an explosion, or a chihuahua with Sarah Jessica Parker’s body? Will Smith’s fresh quips, or ack-ack-ack-ack? Get answers to these and other probing questions in a podcast that’s truly out of this world!
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Help us defray the costs of creating this show, which include recording remotely, purchasing movies/shows/music to review, delivery food to eat our feelings, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles, California, by donating to our Patreon account at patreon.com/WhenWeWereYoung
63: “It’s Hard to Stay Mad When There’s So Much Beauty” – American Beauty
That’s what Lester Burnham tells us in AMERICAN BEAUTY, and may also describe some people’s reaction to this Best Picture winner from 1999, which is a mite more controversial in the wake of the #MeToo movement — and allegations of sexual misconduct by its Oscar-winning lead.
When We Were Young invites you to “look closer” at the stunning cinematography, the innovative editing, the memorably melancholy score, and, of course, Alan Ball’s sharp-tongued screenplay, which follows a doofy dad through a particularly fatal midlife crisis and satirizes upper middle class suburbia. There’s plenty to cherish here, from the darkly comedic performances of Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, and, yes, even Kevin Spacey — but what about its approach to gender and sexuality in the 90s? Is this a cautionary tale about the dangers of chasing youth in your middle age, or is watching Spacey lust after a teenager in 2019 just too… icky?
Does American Beauty hold up like a plastic bag on a blustery day? Or is the bloom off the rose? Find out in our newest episode!
When We Were Young is a podcast devoted to the most beloved pop culture of our formative years (roughly 1980-2000). Join us for a look back to the past with a critical eye on how these movies, songs, TV shows and more hold up now. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WWWYshow, on Facebook at Facebook.com/WWWYShow and email your episode suggestions to email@example.com. Don’t forget to subscribe and review us on iTunes so more folks check out the show!
Help us defray the costs of creating this show, which includes purchasing movies/shows/music to review, delivery food to eat our feelings, and producing & editing in-house at the MFP Studio in Los Angeles, California, by donating to our Patreon account at patreon.com/WhenWeWereYoung.